Spurred on by recent Italian success in our club What a Tanker campaign I’ve started looking at upgrade options once the Regio boys get the kill rings to upgrade their little M11/39s. I reckon the M13/40 isn’t much of an upgrade, but if you can get up to 10 kill rings you can make the mighty jump to this beast:
The Semovente da 47/32
There’s a lot of giggling about Italian AFVs in WW2, but the one thing they did seem to do a good job of was their tank destroyers and assault guns. So much so that the Germans kept the Italian factories working after the Italian surrender and they were happy to use the later model Semoventes alongside their own StuGs.
“Semovente” is just the Italian word for “self-propelled”, and included vehicles based on several different AFV chassis, or even just trucks. The 47/32 was based on the chassis of the L6 light tank, which is about the size of a British Universal Carrier and so arguably a tankette rather than a true light tank. In fact the L6 can trace a line of descent through the earlier L3 tankette back to the Carden-Loyd tankette, several of which were imported by Italy to study them.
Sporting the same Austrian-designed 47mm gun as the M13/40 and M14/40 tanks this little gun carrier packed a wallop and unlike it’s opposite number the British 2pdr it had a useful HE shell as well.
300 vehicles were produced and saw service from 1942 in North Africa, Sicily and the Eastern Front. The Germans continued to use them after Italy flipped in 1943, although many were sent to security units and Croat anti-partisan forces in the Balkans. Apparently they stayed in yellow desert colours even on the Eastern Front, which seems bananas and I’m not surprised crews are reported smearing them in mud.
Battlefront Semovente da 47/32s
There’s not much of a surprise here: you get a resin body and metal tracks, gun and crew. The resin was well cast without any real defects, although I did have one issue attaching the tracks. The left hand track has a shovel moulded onto it which ends up under the side sponson of the superstructure, meaning that track doesn’t fit flush. You have to file the shovel off to get it to mate properly, which is a bit of a quality control booboo.
You get two guns in a blister, so I painted both. As usual I spray-basecoated these, and must have used a different can from my other desert tanks as they’ve come out looking a bit too orange. Not sure what happened there to be honest. I’m still re-learning how to best do 15mm armour and changed my technique slightly. Instead of using black for pinwashing all the detail I instead used the brown Army Painter Dark Tone ink. The black looks a little too contrasty while you’re doing it, but after getting highlighted and weathered I can’t help thinking maybe I should have stuck with more contrast in 15mm.
There are some Battlefront decals on there, but they’re pretty small and hard to spot. I like the crew miniatures on this vehicle. They’re a little bit exaggerated bobble-head style but I think that looks good on this miniature. I suspect the open top was both a blessing and curse in Africa and the Med, and bloody miserable on the Eastern Front for much of the year, but these chaps look cheerful enough.
We’re only in early 1941 in our club WaT campaign at the moment, but if I can keep my M11/39 crew alive to the end of the year and get enough kill rings they’ll definitely be upgrading to one of these nippy little tank destroyers.